30 cm Nebelwerfer 42

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30 cm Nebelwerfer 42
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-278-0888-27, Russland, Raketenwerfer.jpg
Preparing a 30 cm NbW 42 for firing. Note the shiny fuzes in the nose of each rocket.
TypeRocket artillery
Place of originNazi Germany
Service history
In service1943–45
Used by Nazi Germany
WarsWorld War II
Production history
No. built954[1]
Mass1,100 kilograms (2,400 lb) (empty)

Shell weight127 kilograms (280 lb)
Caliber301 millimetres (11.9 in)
Elevation+13° 30' to +45°
Traverse22° 30'
Muzzle velocity230 metres per second (750 ft/s)
Maximum firing range4,550 metres (4,980 yd)
Filling weight45 kilograms (99 lb)

The 30 cm Nebelwerfer 42 (30 cm NbW 42) was a German multiple rocket launcher used in the Second World War. It served with units of the Nebeltruppen, the German equivalent of the U.S. Army's Chemical Corps. Just as the Chemical Corps had responsibility for poison gas and smoke weapons that were used instead to deliver high-explosives during the war so did the Nebeltruppen. The name "Nebelwerfer" is best translated as "Smoke Mortar".[3] It saw service from 1943–45 in all theaters except Norway and North Africa.


The 30 cm NbW 42 was a six-barreled rocket launcher mounted on a two-wheeled carriage converted from the launcher for the 28/32 cm Nebelwerfer 41 by changing the open metal launcher frame. Its 30 cm Wurfkörper 42 Spreng (explosive missile) rocket was spin-stabilized and electrically-fired. The rockets had a prominent exhaust trail that kicked up a lot of debris, so the crew had to seek shelter before firing. This meant that they were easily located and had to displace quickly to avoid counter-battery fire. The rockets were fired one at a time, in a timed ripple, but the launcher had no capability to fire single rockets.[4]

The same rocket was used in the 30 cm Raketenwerfer 56 launcher.

Organization and use[edit]

The 30 cm NbW 42 was organized into batteries of six launchers with three batteries per battalion. These battalions were concentrated in independent Werfer-Regiments and Brigades.[5] It saw service on the Eastern Front, Italian Campaign and the defense of France and Germany from 1943–45.[6]


  1. ^ Engelmann, p. 5
  2. ^ Engelmann, p. 46
  3. ^ LEO online dictionary
  4. ^ Gander and Chamberlain, pp. 321-2
  5. ^ Niehorster, Leo W. G. German World War II Organizational Series, Vol. 5/II: Mechanized GHQ units and Waffen-SS Formations (4 July 1943), 2005, pp. 52-3
  6. ^ Kameradschaft, vols. 1 and 2


  • Englemann, Joachim and Scheibert, Horst. Deutsche Artillerie 1934-1945: Eine Dokumentation in Text, Skizzen und Bildern: Ausrüstung, Gliderung, Ausbildung, Führung, Einsatz. Limburg/Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke, 1974
  • Engelmann, Joachim. German Rocket Launchers in WWII. Schiffer Publishing, 1990 ISBN 0-88740-240-2
  • Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
  • Kameradschaft der ABC-Abwehr, Nebel- und Werfertruppen e.V. Die Nebel- und Werfertruppe (Regimentsbögen). 2001

External links[edit]